British press face restrictions, surveillance

British Prime Minister David Cameron pledges to ban secure messaging platforms in a move that creates risk for journalists relying on encryption for protection. The pledge comes as authorities impose a series of restrictions on the British media. Powerful laws including the Terrorism Act and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act are used to get around journalistic protections, and revelations published in January detail the interception by British intelligence agency GCHQ of messages between reporters and editors at news outlets in the U.K. in 2008.

Automatic encryption is safety by default
A Banksy mural on surveillance near GCHQ. (Reuters/Eddie Keogh)

Alerts   |   Indonesia, UK

Two British journalists convicted in Indonesia over visa violations

Neil Bonner and Rebecca Prosser, center, in court in Indonesia in October. The British filmmakers were sentenced for visa violations on November 3. (Reuters/Beawiharta)

New York, November 3, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the conviction of British filmmakers Neil Bonner and Rebecca Prosser who, according to reports, were sentenced to two and a half month in prison in Indonesia today. The conviction represents a failure of the government to reverse its long-standing anti-media policies.

November 3, 2015 1:29 PM ET


Blog   |   UK

As police seize Newsnight laptop, concerns grow at reach of UK counter-terrorism measures

For journalists investigating jihadist networks, the UK is proving to be no safe haven. British police used special powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 in August to seize the laptop of Secunder Kermani, a reporter for BBC Two's flagship news show "Newsnight," according to reports. "They required the BBC to hand over communication between the BBC journalist and a man in Syria who publicly identified himself as an [Islamic State] member," BBC spokeswoman said today.

Alerts   |   Indonesia, UK

Two British filmmakers on trial in Indonesia over visa regulations

Neil Bonner and Rebecca Prosser are escorted into court in Indonesia on October 22. The British filmmakers are on trial for working without a journalist visa. (AFP/Iklil Faiz)

New York, October 22, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the continued detention and trial of two British filmmakers who have been held in Indonesia since May 28. They are being held with the general prison population in a provincial jail in Batam, according to family members.

October 22, 2015 3:52 PM ET


Reports   |   Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

Balancing Act

Press freedom at risk as EU struggles to match action with values

The European Union strives to be a global leader in press freedom but faces challenges from member states that have criminal defamation and blasphemy laws, and have introduced counterterrorism measures, including mass surveillance. The EU has made press freedom imperative in negotiating with candidate countries, but has been accused of failing to take strong action when member states renege on their press freedom commitments. Journalists working in the region are also affected by EU laws and policies, such as the trade secrets directive and access to information regulations. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists

September 29, 2015 4:00 AM ET

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK

Balancing Act


The European Union describes itself as a model for press freedom and an exemplary global power. Although many of its 28 member states feature at the top of international press freedom rankings, there are significant challenges that undermine press freedom and new threats are emerging.

Attacks on the Press   |   Canada, UK, USA

Surveillance forces journalists to think and act like spies

Graffiti attributed to the street artist Banksy is seen near the offices of Britain's eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, in Cheltenham, England, on April 16, 2014. (Reuters/Eddie Keogh)

Once upon a time, a journalist never gave up a confidential source. When someone comes forward, anonymously, to inform the public, it's better to risk time incarcerated than give them up. This ethical responsibility was also a practical and professional necessity. If you promise anonymity, you're obliged to deliver. If you can't keep your word, who will trust you in the future? Sources go elsewhere and stories pass you by.

Statements   |   UK

UK police used anti-terror legislation to uncover journalists' sources

San Francisco, February 4, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about reports that police agencies in the United Kingdom made more than 600 applications under anti-terror legislation to uncover journalists' confidential sources in the past three years. Today's revelation in the Guardian, citing the interception of communications commissioner, Anthony May, comes amid criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to make end-to-end encryption illegal in the U.K.

February 4, 2015 5:36 PM ET


Blog   |   Internet, Security, UK

Classifying media and encryption as a threat is danger to press freedom

The U.K. prides itself on its commitment to free expression, but the latest revelations of surveillance of journalists and calls by Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, to ban secure messaging belie the country's drift toward a more restrictive environment for the press. The revelations further underscore the threat surveillance by Western democracies poses to journalism, a threat that prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists' Right to Report in the Digital Age campaign.

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